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PR and Advertising: Blurring the Lines

The lines of communications are blurring as the marketing tool box expands.

Back in the pre-Google days the moat between advertising and public relations was clear: Advertising is to buy ads to get your message out; PR is to get exposure through the media or events.

A lot has changed thanks to the Internet. Today, anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone can send messages out (for the good or bad of society) without the middle man – the media outlet carrying your message.

While trained journalists (and I’m proud to have once been a reporter) are as needed as ever to decipher fake stories and determine facts, advancing technology and changing consumer media consumption provide an opportunity for companies and organizations to share their messages far and wide.

The PESO model

One industry acronym bandied about at the recent Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) international conference in Indianapolis is PESO – Placed, Earned, Shared and Owned.

PESO provides the framework for modern public relations and its continual co-mingling with advertising. It’s also a great way to structure your marketing plan.

Here’s a rundown of how PESO can help you plan and navigate ever-integrating content marketing:

  • Paid Content: This is the traditional advertising term – paying a media outlet to run your message, whether through an advertisement or sponsored content. But while these outlets have traditionally been print, Becher PR Blog.Paid.jpgbroadcast, web and outdoor, paid advertising also extends to social media and other tools. For example, influencer marketing – paying social media influencers with substantial, quality audiences to promote a product or service – is one of the trends blurring the lines between PR and advertising.
  • Earned Content: This refers to traditional PR – where the organization or agency places a news item with the media, whether through a news release, Becher PR Blog.Earned.jpginterviews, an event, a commentary and so on. While modern public relations has morphed into so much more, these are the activities historically associated with PR.
  • Shared Content: The explosion of social media gives billions of people an instant, global platform to say whatever you want. This part of the PR equation is the ability to share your content – news about consumer Becher PR Blog.Shared.jpgtrends, for example – directly to your audiences through social media. You no longer need a media mouth-piece to get your messages out. But you do need goals, strategy, a voice and authenticity for that message to get traction.
  • Owned Content: These days anyone can create and disseminate news – even make news. Owned content refers to information created and curated by an organization. From articles to blogs to videos and photos, companies and organizations are harnessing Becher PR Blog.Owned.jpegtheir own thought-leadership by storing their content on their website and sharing through social media. If you have something important to add to the public discourse – say a new product or new way to solve a problem – owning your own content is a great way to share your message – and get the attention of the media for some earned coverage.

What’s best for you?

The solution that’s best for you depends. When deciding which element of PESO to incorporate, consider:

  • Your audiences: What media are they consuming? What technology do they use? How do they like to be communicated to? This will determine your most effective approach.
  • Your industry: Whether you’re a consumer brand or b-to-b niche, your tactics will differ.
  • Your goals and objectives: Fast growth or steady name recognition? The PESO model can adapt to your needs.
  • Your budget: By considering PR as well as advertising in your marketing mix, you don’t need a big budget to reach your audiences – just the right strategy and creativity.

It's wise to seek help to navigate the ever-blurring line of marketing. But with the right approach everyone has the ability to cut through the clutter.

Need help putting your plan together? Contact us at info@ndp.agency.

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